This week, my husband and I went to see the latest Alice in Wonderland, and through its quirks, Tim Burton’s darkness, and its twists of the original story, I can say without a hesitation that Lewis Carroll would have been pleased with the result. The Wonderland story isn’t one that should be told with a straight face and a solemn disposition.
For a writer who created a brave heroine in an age where the only female protagonists were princesses, Charles Dodgson, who we all know by his pen name, Lewis Carroll, was a man beyond his era. What else could you expect from a man who claimed the hobbies of a mathematician, a philosopher, and a writer? So many critics have deemed his writings ‘nonsense,’ but contrariwise (to quote Tweedle-Dee – or perhaps Tweedle-Dum, who can keep them straight?) I hold he was one of the more brilliant writers of his age.
Tim Burton’s latest project is definitely an interesting take on the well-loved tale. Its oddness, which sometimes crosses into silliness and at other times the grotesque, may repel some audiences. Yet Machiavellian questions are raised, as are queries of fate, of obligation, as well as the classic riddle, “how is a raven like a writing desk?” None are directly answered, though the audience definitely can come up with their own ideas by the end of the film.
I believe audiences should always take the opportunity to chase the white rabbit whenever they can.